Everyone seems to say that you should write from experience. I've always thought that to be sound advice, but it's far from necessary right? Many great films can't be written from experience. Are you telling me George Lucas went up into space before he created Star Wars? Or that Joss Whedon hung out with vampires before making Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The short answer is no! You don't have to live something to write about it. But there is no substitute for experience right? The more you live, the more you learn and the more you have to write about.
Last night, I found myself in an interesting situation. I get the train from Sheffield (where I go to uni) to Doncaster (home) almost every day. It's usually fine...until the trains are cancelled because a tree falls onto the track! So we had to get a bus service. It was just hitting rush hour (or slow time as we now call it) so was going to take at least two hours to get there. We got on the bus at about 4pm and off we went. Alas I get travel sickness, so you can imagine how I felt at the back and top of a double decker bus. Didn't take long for me to feel unwell and it wasn't helped by some tit lighting up a fag right next to us. Basically, the guy was a complete tw*t!
Anyway, in the end, I had to get off the bus because I didn't think I'd last much longer on there. The driver told me I was in Mexbrough and directed me to the train station (I figured the trains might be back on - silly me). So I followed the directions, but couldn't find the station anywhere, then of course I couldn't find where I'd got off so I could either! After over half an hour of running round Mexbrough I decided to approach an elderly couple. It's pitch black at night and I have to approach old people. Great(!) I was half expecting to be beaten with walking sticks.
"Do you happen to know where Mexbrough train station is?" I asked.
"Erm...no," they started. "But since you're in Conisbrough, we know where that one is."
So, apparently I had walked from Mexbrough to Consibrough, or (more likely) the bus driver didn't have a clue where he'd dropped me off. They gave me loads of directions and I set off. One of these directions was the "safe" route, which involved a field. All I can say is that if that was the safe route, the other route must have been through Hell of something! I came to the field that was on a really steep slope. And it was pitch black. Complete darkness. There was a path, but I didn't see it. I very carefully made my way through the field. I was about half way through when I hear.....wait for it......howling! That's right, that sound werewolves make in all the horror movies. Then I hear another and another. 'More than one werewolf' methinks.
Then my imagination went a bit wild. You know all those American cannibal movies - The Hills Have Eyes, Wrong Turn, etc? Some people get given directions that is a 'shortcut'. Then the cannibals attack and everyone dies! Well I started thinking this was the Conisbrough equivalent. Some poor student asks a nice elderly couple for directions and they sacrifice him to the werewolves that prey in the dark field! Despite the thoughts of general fear and terror, I couldn't help thinking - 'this would make a good movie.'
I eventually found my way through the field and found the train station (mini-cheer please). I went under a shelter and saw two people. The first was a girl probably about 15 and the other was a very large hooded bloke. So, we can guess which one of them I felt safer standing next to.
So I wander over to the girl and do the standard 'this is a shit night' nod. It was freezing cold and we were both shivering, but Mr Hoody wasn't moving an inch. And he didn't for the next 10 minutes. We shall dub him Statue Demon. Anyway, the girl suddenly started whispering to me. She said that Statue Demon had been looking at her funny and asking her where she lived. She then asked me if I could wait with her until her dad picked her up. Doing the brave manly thing, I said "sure". It's not like I had anywhere else to go. But what the hell was I going to do about Statue Demon? The guy was huge!
A bit later, the girl got picked up, leaving me all alone with Statue Demon. I hadn't seen him move once the entire time. Not once! Then, 10 minutes later - without warning - Statue Demon stood up (standing at a nice 6'4" easily) and walked off into the night. Very strange!
So I was left all alone. Then I hear more barking and howling. AHH THE WEREWOLVES ARE BACK! I heard them for about 20 minutes, then realised they were behind a gate. It turns out the werewolves bore a striking resemblance to your standard dogs! Deceitful fiends!
Anyway, it was Dad to the rescue. He finally found Conisbrough train station and picked me up. YAY! All was well again!
So, that was my night. Needless to say it was an experience. I battled werewolves, old folk, Statue Demons and the cold. Go me!
I think that's what they mean by writing from experience. Prepare to see a script with those exact events coming soon!
Stay shiny folks,